The Voluntourist

The Voluntourist : A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem

3.49 (431 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


Ken Budd's The Voluntourist is a remarkable memoir about losing your father, accepting your fate, and finding your destiny by volunteering around the world for numerous worthy causes: Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in New Orleans, helping special needs children in China, studying climate change in Ecuador, lending a hand-and a heart-at a Palestinian refugee camp in the Middle East, to name but a few. Ken's emotional journey is as inspiring and affecting as those chronicled in Little Princes and Three Cups of Tea. At once a true story of powerful family bonds, of sacrifice, of self-discovery, The Voluntourist is an all-too-human, real-life hero whom you will not soon forget.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 134 x 204 x 22mm | 381.02g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • William Morrow Paperbacks
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 006194646X
  • 9780061946462
  • 513,521

Review quote

"One of the best-written travel memoirs...this book spins a compelling yarn, linking six varied experiences into a cohesive narrative. Recommended for anyone who has been, or is interested in becoming, a `voluntourist.' " -- Library Journal "Readers of this unique travel memoir will undoubtedly be inspired to take a voluntour of their own, and the author includes helpful tips on how to do just that." -- Booklist "A solid introduction to the world of volunteer tourism and a pleasant diversion for those who don't mind a wandering road." -- Kirkus Reviews "In his sincere and subtly written memoir, Budd gracefully--and often humorously--records how he changes `emotionally, physically, spiritually' as he travels to work with `people with real problems and different perspectives.'" -- Publishers Weekly "Heart-warming...tempered with exactly the right amount of acerbic wit...Unless you're comfortable laughing loudly in publis, you don't want to read this on your daily commute." -- Vertge Magazine "For those of you who haven't read Ken's book yet, get your copy NOW! It's really that good." -- Jae-Ha Kim, syndicated travel columnist, Chicago Tribune "Funny, touching, insightful and compelling." -- The U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy "Lively...Entertaining...The author's intelligence and autobiographical honesty engage the reader...Budd is a skilled writer with a good ear for dialogue." --
show more

Back cover copy

n. 1. A guy who attempts to save the world in an attempt to save himself.
2. Someone who can only do it two weeks at a time.

When Ken Budd was thirty-nine, his father collapsed after eighteen holes of golf. Ken and his wife raced to the hospital--but it was too late. In the weeks that followed, as grieving friends revealed how his father had changed their lives, Ken started questioning his own life--and admitting, after years of denial, that he and his wife would never have children.

And then, still struggling with grief--his grief at losing his father, his grief at not being a father--Ken received an e-mail with the subject line: "Katrina Relief Volunteer Opportunities." He signed up. He went to New Orleans. And he kept volunteering: Costa Rica, to teach English; China, to work with special-needs children; Ecuador, to study climate change; the West Bank, to assist refugees; Kenya, to care for orphans. His goal: to find purpose by helping others, one trip at a time.

Wry, funny, and heartbreakingly honest, The Voluntourist will linger in your mind long after you've turned the last page.
show more

About Ken Budd

KEN BUDD is an award-winning writer and editor whose writing credits include Smithsonian, the Washington Post, McSweeney's, Stuff, Washingtonian, Modern Humorist, Opium, and Worldview. Ken lives in Burke, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife.
show more

Review Text

"One of the best-written travel memoirs...this book spins a compelling yarn, linking six varied experiences into a cohesive narrative. Recommended for anyone who has been, or is interested in becoming, a 'voluntourist.' " Library Journal
show more

Rating details

431 ratings
3.49 out of 5 stars
5 16% (67)
4 36% (156)
3 33% (143)
2 12% (53)
1 3% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X